Part 4: Creating a Critter from My Mind

Where are all the emus with green eyes? Maybe they live on another planet. But – as an artist, I can bring a green-eyed emu to life on my canvas!

Eyes are surprisingly easy to paint (and draw). Simply add the three basic ingredients (pupil, iris, and highlight) to a roundish shape. The upper image shows a base coat that provides a blueprint for painting (ignore the lighter color painted on the wrong side of the iris). The second layer of paint fixes my mistake and almost covers the white of the canvas. The lower image is closer to a believable eye. The “dots” in the iris are painted with a fun technique called stippling and a range of different yellow and green hues.

When working with layers of acrylic paint, make sure the mixed paint is thin. Painting fine details over top of dried lumps of paint is not fun! Thankfully, a light sanding with a small piece of fine sandpaper flattens the lumps and prepares the section for more paint.

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Part 3: Creating a Critter from My Mind

Creating an artwork from your imagination is like driving a car in a foreign country without a destination – you never know where you’re going to end up.

My background colors have already changed! The old fur (feather) colors were too similar to the previous background. By adding a little green, the fur stands out better.

Experienced artists have their favorite brushes and techniques for painting fur. I love my liners (scrip liners) – they hold lots of thinned paint and can make lines that begin wide and taper off to points. Simply apply pressure to the brush when you start the line and gradually ease off until the lines ends at a point. If your painting is small, rotate the canvas so you’re always using only sideways and downward strokes.

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Part 2: Creating a Critter from My Mind

Using oils to paint a smoothly-blended, multi-colored background is relatively easy because of their lengthy drying time. On the down side, additional layers can’t be added to the background for a few days. Conversely, acrylics dry within minutes and therefore entail a different painting approach.

Thin layers of acrylic paint can be added over one another as soon as the paint dries (15-30 minutes). You can even “erase” (paint over) mistakes and sections you don’t like.

If you want to slow down the drying process, mix a little “retarder” (manufactured by Golden) into each paint color. However, make sure you thoroughly mix the retarder into the paint or you’ll end up with lumps (paint that didn’t get any thinner).

By working the background with layers of thinned paint, I can simply play with values and colors. The background colors are similar to those I plan to use for the emu’s fur/feathers (yellows and browns).  I begin with a few thin base coats to establish preliminary values and colors (which will no doubt change as I work).

My chosen light source is from the upper frontal right. I plan to paint the background’s darker values behind the emu’s lightest values (on the upper right and right side). Conversely, the lighter values need to be behind the darkest values (on the lower left and left side).

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Part 1: Creating a Critter from My Mind

On a personal note, I started this painting over two years ago but encountered additional vision problems (I’ve always been blind in one eye and now the other eye is giving problems). Being somewhat stubborn, giving up is not an option.

Creating drawings and paintings without any references is extremely enjoyable. You begin with nothing – in this case an empty canvas. Emus and ostriches are irresistible, silly-looking critters that always make me smile. My blank mind soon had a drawing of an emu on my blank canvas (at least I think it’s an emu).

I haven’t painted for a long time. The drawing part was easy; the painting itself will be challenging. My brushes are dusted off and ready to go!

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Module 8: Creating Art in Color

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YEAH! My Newest Book is Launched!

My life has been crazy busy over the past few months, so this book has taken longer than usual to finish. For me, the most difficult part of writing a book is declaring it finished. The temptation to check everything one last time is addictive. However, there comes a point where I just have to let it go! :o)

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Love and hugs to my partner John (Percy) and editors Giselle Melanson Tattrie and Cailin Green for making this book a reality. :o)

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Art therapy is a unique experience based on using the medium of art as an instrument of change. Rather than learning conventional techniques and modalities, art therapy approaches the medium in a natural experiential way.

Here’s four of the 46 lessons authored by Judith on my website:

Introduction to Art Therapy (5.3.R1 – 10 Pages and 7 Illustrations)

Understanding art therapy and how creating art enables you to enhance your well-being

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Exercises to Build Confidence (5.3.A6 – 8 Pages and 13 Illustrations)

Gift yourself with enlightening activities to help enhance your personal growth, physical well-being, and self-esteem

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Exploring the Art of Self Discovery (5.3.R2 – 8 Pages and 7 Illustrations)

Embracing the powers of clarity and choice as instruments for enriching personal growth

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Voyage of Discovery (5.3.A8 – 2 Pages and 4 Illustrations)

Create a contour drawing with glue, add bright colors with watercolor paints, and outline shapes with a black marker

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Zebra

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Beginner: 6.2.A7 Shade Simple Furry Stripes (4 Pages and 6 Illustrations)

Use curved hatching lines to practice drawing a striped pattern with a furry texture.

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Beginner to Intermediate: 6.2.A20 A Zebra Named Spot (16 Pages and 33 Illustrations)

Draw the striped pattern, furry texture, and exterior anatomical forms of a baby zebra’s face, head, and neck.

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Beginner: 6.2.A8 Shade Spotted Furry Textures (6 Pages and 16 Illustrations)

Use hatching lines to practice drawing the texture and pattern of realistic, spotted fur.

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Beginner to Intermediate: 6.2.A17 Dandy the Baby Giraffe (14 Pages and 41 Illustrations)

Outline proportions and shapes and then add shading to create the forms, textures, and patterns of an adorable young giraffe

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